Thirty-one years ago, Joe B. Hall had an idea. Capitalizing on an NCAA rule that allowed teams to begin practicing at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15, Hall wanted to involve students and get them fired up for the 1982-83 season. UKNow has the story:
The first Big Blue Madness, billed as "Midnight Special," did not have all the glitz and glam that is now associated with UK's first practice.
"We had some little games set up for the students to participate and so the night that we had our first madness I think we drew about 8,500 students," Hall continued. "The word spread and it turned out to be so much fun and the students just absolutely loved it; I mean, anything students will do at midnight is fun. The day, the pressures of their classwork had worn off and it was just a great evening. It was stimulation for players, a way to kick off the season and the first practice with that kind of exhibition. It just proved to be really a lot of fun."
So much fun that word quickly spread about UK's midnight practice that the following year, fans, not just students, flocked to Memorial Coliseum to get a first glimpse at their Wildcats.
And it's only grown since. Now, Big Blue Madness has become one of most anticipated UK Athletics events of the season. Thousands camp out for tickets to the event, which has evolved into more of a show than a practice.
It's going to be another packed house in Rupp Arena for the 2013 edition, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday. This year, fans can be part of the show like never before by downloading the Wham City Lights app on the App Store or Android Marketplace.
There were certainly no smart phones back when Hall was coaching, but he got it all started. Head to UKNow to read more about the history of Madness.